On October 9, 2003, plaintiff filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cook County, the Cook County Sheriff, the Cook County Department of Corrections Director, the Cook County Department of Public Health Director, and the Cermak Health Services of Cook County Chief Operating Officer in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff, an attorney proceeding pro se and then represented by private counsel, sought declaratory, compensatory, and injunctive relief, claiming he was the victim of an unreasonable visual cavity search and a urethral swabbing test in violation of the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff alleged state law violations of assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Specifically, on October 9, 2002, a judge found plaintiff in civil contempt and Sheriff's deputies took plaintiff to the Cook County Jail. Defendants claimed, but plaintiff denied, that plaintiff signed a "consent for [medical] treatment" form. Plaintiff alleged he was not informed of his right to refuse the urethral swab test and was unaware of what medical tests would be performed during intake and therefore could not consent. Plaintiff alleged that a doctor threatened the inmates, saying, "you don't want to piss-off the dick doctor," prior to the test. Then Sheriff's deputies did a visual body cavity search of plaintiff in a group of 40-50 inmates.
On August 8, 2005, the Court (U.S. District Court Judge Matthew F. Kennelly) denied summary judgment to defendants and found that plaintiff could proceed under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, but not under the Eighth Amendment, which does not apply to pretrial detainees. The Court held: (1) There were fact issues as to whether visual cavity searches were necessary for all incoming inmates and Sheriff's deputies had no reasonable suspicion that plaintiff concealed contraband. (2) There were fact issues as to whether urethral swabbing of all inmates violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights because the consent form did not state that the health screening included an invasive test. Furthermore, defendants did not provide evidence of STDs in the jail and the urethral swabbing was not conducted in private. Thompson v. County of Cook, 412 F. Supp. 2d 881 (N.D. Ill. 2005).
On January 31, 2006, jury trial began before U.S. District Court Judge Kennelly.
On February 7, 2006, the Court (U.S. District Court Judge Kennelly) dismissed the claims against Defendant Cook County as to the strip search and dismissed claims against Defendant Sheriff as to the urethral swab test. Plaintiff previously withdrew his state law claims. The jury then found for defendants on all remaining counts.
On February 21, 2006, plaintiff moved for a new trial.
On April 18, 2006, the Court (U.S. District Court Judge Kennelly) granted a new trial as to the strip search because the jury's verdict as to the body cavity search was against the weight of the evidence. The search was unreasonable because Sheriff's deputies had no reasonable suspicion that plaintiff concealed contraband. The Court affirmed the verdict for defendants as to the urethral swabbing procedure because the Court found that plaintiff had consented to the procedure. Thompson v. County of Cook, 428 F.Supp.2d 807 (N.D. Ill. 2006).
On March 29, 2007, the Court (Judge Kennelly) dismissed the case pursuant to a stipulation.Shira Gordon - 05/31/2012